WARNING: The video clip above contains strong language.
On Nov. 4, the day he turned 18, Trevor Sepulvida of San Diego submitted his resignation letter to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, frustrated with the Mormon Church’s stances on a myriad of issues, including same-sex marriage. Then he also sent a copy of his letter to popular political comedian Lewis Black, never expecting what would happen next.
A video of Black reading the letter went viral.
On Nov. 8, Black, who is known for skewering most anything and invites people to submit their own rants, read Sepulvida’s letter in Oklahoma City on his The Rant is Due: Part Deux tour. It was then posted on social media, where it has since been viewed more than 400,000 times on Facebook alone since the Mormon Church’s recent controversial decision to prohibit the children of gay parents from being baptized.
Because of that decision, leaked to excommunicated Mormon blogger and podcaster John Dehlin on Nov. 6, more than 1,000 Utah Mormons attended a mass gathering in Salt Lake City on Saturday to turn in their membership resignation letters and voice their opposition to the church’s new policy.
“This will have a high rate of collateral impact on families,” Tyson Keith Holbrook, 39, a financial consultant and married father of four from Salt Lake City told PEOPLE after learning about the new edict. “Utah has a high population of LGBT people, and now for a child to be a member of the church, they will be forced to choose between their parent(s) or the church. It is abhorrent and inexcusable to do this to these families.”
Sepulvida, who says he is now an atheist, had coincidentally mailed his own resignation letter just days before the controversy broke.
In the letter, which is laced with profanity, he says that four years ago, he never imagined he would leave the Mormon faith. In fact, he thought that he would serve a church mission at age 18.
“I would tell other Mormons who are contemplating leaving the church to NOT procrastinate when it comes to their doubts,” Sepulvida wrote. “I encourage them to explore their doubts even if it is discouraged by church leaders. I would like to let them know that there is a HUGE support community when they leave and that there is life after the Mormon Church.”
Black, who livestreams his standup shows and reads somebody’s rant at the end of each one, announced before reading Sepulvida’s letter that “If you’re a Mormon, you may not want to listen.”
Sepulvida, a senior at Bonita Vista High School, tells PEOPLE, “Words can’t explain how pleased I am. I never expected this to go viral! I am extremely thankful for all of the love and support I’ve received.”